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Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months
Albert Hopkins M.A. '87 of Los Altos passed away on January 5, 2016. He is survived by his three children. His daughter Merrell Schweitzer of Colorado, a son Alan of San Francisco, and son Donald of San Jose, a sister Merrell Hambleton of Maryland, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr. Hopkins was born in New York City to Albert Hopkins and Nettie Beall. He moved to Los Altos, California in 1951 with his wife Merilyn, who proceeded him in death in 1981. He later married Kay Tyler in 1996. He had graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where his grandfather Henry Hopkins and great grandfather Mark Hopkins had served as presidents of the college. Following graduation Mr. Hopkins served in the merchant marine, and later worked for a mining company in South America. He served in the Navy in the Pacific in World War II.
After coming to California he worked in the construction business before starting a career at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California from which he retired in 1984. During this time he became a panelist for the American Arbitration Association and was active in community affairs. He served as vice president of the Stanford Area Boy Scout Council and president of the Los Altos Community Fund. He was one of the organizers of the Santa Clara county United Fund and became secretary of it's first board of directors.
His community activities also included service on two Los Altos school citizens committees and as president of Little league and Babe Ruth League baseball. He was a life member of the Los Altos PTA. In 1982 he became a hospice volunteer working with terminally ill patients and their families, and in 1984 became a part time member of the pastoral staff of the Los Altos United Methodist Church. In connection with his work he received a graduated degree in counseling from Santa Clara University. Recently, Mr. Hopkins was in full retirement but continued as an active member of his church.
Richard R. "Dick" Blackburn '49 passed away peacefully at home on March 1,2016 in San Jose, California at the age of 94. His loving wife Angela preceded him in death on April 6, 2010. He and Angela had no siblings or children. Dick was born August 18, 1921 in the state of California. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and served in Japan. After the war ended, he returned to the U.S. and enrolled at the University of Santa Clara, subsequently graduating in 1949 with a degree in Civil Engineering. After Graduation, Dick took a position with the City of San Jose Public Works Department and obtained his State license as a Professional Civil Engineer. His many projects included the planning of the major Street Network, the design and construction of the Coleman-Market Overcrossing, and many other major street widening projects. He advanced to become the Operations Engineer and as such managed the Operations and Maintenance Branch of the Department. He was subsequently promoted to Assistant Director of Public Works. Upon retirement from the City of San Jose in 1980 (after 30 years of service), Dick performed volunteer work for the University of Santa Clara adding his expertise to aide the University in the project to realign "the Alameda" around the campus. He later took a position with the city of Santa Clara working on several projects concerned with energy conservation. Dick was also founding director of the San Jose Retired Employees Association and served as a director from June 1991 to 2008.
Tom Mollard '50 passed away January 21. As part of the indomitable Class of '50 engineers who have met annually without fail since their graduation, Tom will be especially missed.
The 89-year-old long time Los Altos resident passed away from internal injuries suffered from a fall a week earlier.
His wife, Ann, preceded him death when she passed away in 2009 and his sister, Roberta Mollard Pavlakis, in 2000. Tom is survived by his 2 daughters, Susan (husband Ron) Glaze, Monterey, CA and Kitty (husband Jack) Friel, of Millis, MA, three grandchildren, Jack, Casey and Ryan and 3 great grandchildren, sisters in law Mary Durkin and Eileen McAvoy as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was born and raised in Oakland, CA. His father died when he was 6 and his mother raised him and his older sister, Roberta, as a single mom during the Depression. Tom was a proud graduate of St. Joseph High School, class of 1944 in Alameda. Immediately upon graduating he joined the Navy where he saw duty in the Pacific on the USS Coughlan during World War II. When the war ended, he attended Santa Clara University where he graduated in 1950 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. The discipline and faith he learned from his high school and college never left him and he attributed his success in business and as a husband and father to these institutions.
He met the love of his life, Ann, at the German Club in Oakland in 1949. They were married in 1951 and soon moved to Walnut Creek. In 1959 the family moved to Los Altos where he lived the remainder of his life.
Tom stayed in close contact with his high school and college friends. His engineering class at Santa Clara University has held a reunion every year since 1950. He also attended many WWII reunions with his former shipmates.
Tom started his career with the Atomic Energy Commission and eventually was president of his own company, Mollard Marketing. He was a long time member of the Electronics Representative Association and a past director of Wescon.
Timothy P. Murphy '50, MS '76 Nov. 12, 2015. Born with his sister Patricia at O’Connor Hospital on Dec. 2, 1925. A World War II Army Veteran he spent 50 years in the electronics industry. He is survived by his wife Margaret, six children, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.
George A. Stein '50 passed away peacefully at his Napa home on Sept. 11, 2015.
George was born on Jan. 6, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri to Melvin and Hattie Stein. The family moved to Napa in 1938. He graduated from Napa High in 1946 and received a full basketball scholarship to the University of Santa Clara, where he graduated with a BS degree in commerce. George served in the Army for two years at the time of the Korean War. Following his time in the service, he began his minor league baseball career with the Yankees farm club. During this time he met and married Shirley Russell. They moved to Napa in 1954 and George started working at Basalt Rock Company and became involved in the Napa community, serving on the Civil Service Commission and the Grand Jury. When Basalt was later purchased by Dillingham Corporation he was appointed Vice President of Labor Relations and continued to be greatly respected and known as a man of his word. George retired from Dillingham in 1994 and immediately started his new career as Administrator of the California Field Iron Workers Administrative Trust. He retired on December 31, 2013 just a few days shy of his 85th birthday. George was very proud of the fact that he never missed a paycheck in 59 years of work.
In 1985 George married Carol Hamon Jones and they just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They enjoyed traveling and reached their goal of visiting the capitols of all 50 states. Additionally, they found time to travel to all 58 county seats in California.
George loved all sports and was an avid bowler and golfer. He was always grateful for what his sports career at Napa High had done for his life. It gave him the opportunity to attend the University of Santa Clara on a basketball scholarship. Because he wanted to acknowledge the important part the NHS Athletic Department had in his life and the lives of many other students, he led the effort to create the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation. He thought it was a fitting way to celebrate the 1997 Napa High School 100 year anniversary. George’s older brother Mel was inducted in its inaugural year and George followed in 2000.
George is survived by his wife Carol; his children Linda Fitzgerald of San Luis Obispo, James (Dianna) of Lodi and Susan of Napa; his stepdaughter Amanda Jones of Napa; and his multiple grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents, brother Mel and his stepdaughter Karen Jones Shubin.
Dr. John W. McMahon Sr. '53 died April 28, 2015, with his family by his side. Born in Butte on the same date in 1931, he wrote an incredible life story in the 84 years from his first to his last breath.
Jack was the third of four children born to Brandon and Anita McMahon. While attending the Catholic schools in Butte, he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball, all while maintaining a perfect grade point average. Summers working in the mines were no doubt the cause for his academic success because he “never wanted to do hard labor for the rest of his life.” Uncle Jack Doherty promised to pay his college expenses as long as A’s were the only marks he received. After graduating from Boys Central in 1948, he went on to play football and baseball at Santa Clara University. Summers were spent in Montana playing semi-professional baseball in the Copper League, working in the mines, and building what would eventually become the family cabin at Georgetown Lake.
Although Jack debated between the priesthood or a career in coaching, he eventually decided medicine was his calling. This led him to St. Louis University Medical School, where he met Joan Livingston in his Biochem class. His relentless pursuit paid off when she accepted his marriage proposal, despite the fact that she had two other dates scheduled for later that night. They married on Dec. 10, 1955. In 59 years, he never forgot to tell her he loved her each night and how fortunate he was to have been the one she chose . . . despite the efforts of her parents and at least one of those suitors trying to talk her out of marrying that boy from Montana.
While completing his residency in general, vascular and thoracic surgery in St. Louis, he and Joanie welcomed Jack Jr., Steve, Joan Marie, and Joe. In 1962, they moved to Helena, where Jack began his practice at St. John’s, and St. Peter’s Hospital. They added Mary Anne, Mike, Tim, Mary Ellen, Tom, and Dick (mom’s favorite) to the family. Jack was famous for telling people that when the priest said to go forth and propagate, he thought he was responsible for the whole world. He and Joanie also welcomed their home to countless others, most importantly, Ramon Rodriquez, Kathy Battrick, and Charlie, Ron, Nancy and Sunny Mott. He taught his children that serving God meant serving those around them, learn from today and do better tomorrow, and if you are having a bad day, “get your ass to church.”
Along with his 31-year medical career, Jack was committed to serving his community through a number of professional medical organizations, the Catholic Church, and the Helena athletic community. For all of his kids and grandkids, he did his best to make every game they participated in as either a competitor or coach. He was a fixture on the sidelines or in the stands at both Capital and Helena High, Carroll College, Utah State, University of Louisville, and SEVERAL NFL teams (sorry Tom). In addition to his love of athletics, he had a deep appreciation for spending time in all that Montana has to offer. Pack trips, float trips, hunting camp, and summers at the Georgetown/ Lincoln cabins were some of his family and friends greatest adventures.
He was preceded in death by his son, Steven Edward; his parents, Brandon and Anita; siblings, Steve, Tom, and Mary Jo; and his lifelong friends -- John and Alice Hale, Roy and Billie Rule, and Dick and Marge Fryhover.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; his children and their spouses; and over 50 grandchildren.
Richard R. Roderick '54 passed away on Nov. 30, 2015, in Oakland after a long illness. He was 83. He was a member of the Thomas I. Bergin Legacy Society, which builds SCU’s endowment and ensures it will have the financial resources to provide educational opportunities for future generations.
William "Bill" Martin Brunkow '55 died on Jan. 28, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth; children David, Mary, and Paul; granddaughters Lauren, Devon, and Kennedy; and sister Peg VanHoomissen.
Bill was born on August 3, 1932 to Clarence and Evelyn Brunkow in Portland; he is predeceased by his sister Catherine Brunkow.
Bill grew up in Portland and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1950. He attended Santa Clara University, graduating in 1955 with a BA in Civil Engineering. He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers until 1957, spending most of that time stationed in Stephenville, Newfoundland. He married Elizabeth Lowell in 1957, and continued working in Newfoundland for an additional 2 years as a civilian with the Corps of Engineers.
Back in Portland in 1959, Bill began his building career working for Douglas Lowell Inc., and continued in home building and light commercial construction for nearly 40 years.
Bill enjoyed family activities, golfing, playing volleyball, and travels to the Oregon Coast. He had a particular fondness for his dogs Curly, Maggie, Tucker, and Sage and always had a treat in his pocket for any dog he encountered. He was known for his outstanding memory (college sports trivia a particular strength) and knack for wordplay and puns.
Bill valued his membership of nearly 50 years in St. John Fisher Parish and his friends there. He participated for many years in the Head and Neck Cancer Support Group at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he received and contributed mutual understanding and camaraderie. Bill’s family expresses their gratitude to the Internal Medicine doctors and nurses at Emanuel Hospital.
Professor Cornelius Timothy Moynihan '60, 76, passed away on Dec. 22, 2015, at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, after a brief illness. His family was at his side. Born in Inglewood, Calif., on Feb. 2, 1939, to John H. Moynihan and Mildred I. (Dittman) Moynihan; he was the oldest of three children.
Connie will be remembered by family and friends as a kind and moral man with an impish sense of humor. He was the center of many a party where he entertained with his guitar and repertoire that ranged from folk songs to bawdy ballads. He enjoyed a good joke and always had one ready to share. He loved science fiction and taking his children, and later his grandchildren, to any movie with a spaceship or an alien. He was a steadfast supporter of wildlife conservation and animal welfare.
Connie attributed his success as an accomplished and respected scientist and academic to the education he received at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif. The focus and training imparted by the Jesuit brothers helped overcome the difficulties of his early years, and honed a keen scientific mind and disciplined approach to work and life. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Santa Clara University in 1960, his M.S. in physical chemistry in 1962 from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1965, also from Princeton.
His academic career began in the Department of Chemistry at California State University in Los Angeles, in 1964. He then joined the Department of Materials Science and Chemistry at Catholic University of America in 1969, and in 1981 he became professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As Professor Emeritus at RPI, he continued to review abstracts, to teach his favorite class in thermodynamics, and keep students on their toes with his rigorous line of questioning. Throughout his academic career, he specialized in amorphous materials (molten salts and inorganic glasses) and published approximately 180 scientific papers on various aspects of amorphous materials. In particular, he contributed to analyzing a complicated structural relaxation phenomenon of glasses and the most popular equations to describe the relaxation bears his name as "The Narayanaswamy-Moynihan-Tool relaxation formalism." He was a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and known for his high quality of research works and thorough and rigorous teaching of thermodynamics.
Connie is survived by his daughter, Kathleen Moynihan Falls of Evanston, Ill.; his son, Timothy Campbell Moynihan of Randolph, Vt.; his sister, Sheila Moynihan Wilson of Monterey, Calif.; his grandchildren, Keegan Moynihan, Declan Falls, Vivienne Falls and Connor Falls; his son-in-law, Bob Falls; and daughter-in-law, Bindi Rakhra; and his partner of 30 years, Maria Resnick. He was predeceased by his brother, Dennis Moynihan.
San Luis Obispo lost an icon when Gregory Morris '62 died on Feb. 8, 2016, at his home in Avila Beach. Greg was born in August 1940 in San Francisco to Harry and Anne Morris. In 1948, Harry, Anne, and their two sons, Greg and Michael, moved to San Luis Obispo. Greg attended Old Mission School, and after grammar school, achieved his Eagle Scout. He spent his high school years at Mission Central Catholic High School and Bellarmine College Preparatory and then graduated from Santa Clara University with his B.A. in history in 1962.
After working for The Hartford Insurance Company in San Francisco for two years, he moved back to San Luis Obispo in 1964 to work with his father at what was then known as Bachino & Morris. Soon thereafter the firm became Morris & Dee. Greg spent his career building long-lasting relationships and taking care of those in need. For over 50 years he considered his clients and employees his family. Greg was instrumental in expanding the company, now known as Morris & Garritano, to the firm it is today. He was proud to have been joined by two of his children to carry on the multi-generational business.
Greg married Theresa LaFace in 1967, and together they had four children: Kelly Morgan '91, Brendan Morris '92, Kerry Morris '98, and Patrick. One of Greg's ongoing passions was his belief in Catholic education, manifested through the reopening of Mission College Preparatory in 1983 and the school's expansion in 2004. His strong interest in history, particularly in that of California missions, was evident in his work to restore the La Loma Adobe-a project that engaged him until the end of his life.
Anyone who knew him would agree, Greg was the world's best host. He was a gentleman through and through, and he made sure your glass was full and your smile was big. His patience and attention to detail were extraordinary, and his boundless generosity was felt deeply by those around him, through his work ethic, his unbridled love for his family, and his commitment to his community through organizations like Mission School Memorial Foundation, Mid State Bank, and French Hospital. Greg exemplified his strong compassion for the people around him through his lifelong service as a Eucharistic minister for parishioners from both Saint Paul Church in Pismo Beach and Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo. He also participated in the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo, two of the highlights being administering polio vaccinations and drilling water wells in India and Malawi, respectively. Greg's family loved going on vacations with him to beautiful locations such as Maui, Canada, Australia, Tahiti, Italy, and most recently Norway. His kindness and respect for others touched whoever crossed his path, and he was always interested in learning more about other cultures and other countries.
Greg Morris is survived by his brother, Michael (Sandy); his children: Kelly Morris, Brendan (Vicky), Kerry Morris (Ryan), Patrick (Linda); his grandchildren: Jennifer, Amy, Rell, Kalani, Grace, and his nephews, Kevin and Colin.
Paul Kantner '63, one of the giants of the San Francisco music scene, died Jan. 28, 2016. Mr. Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane, was 74.
Martin "Marty" Ziegler '63 attended SCU for three and a half years. He had to leave in the middle of his senior year & finished his degree in Southern California. He loved Santa Clara & always identified with that school. He passed away on Dec. 6, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Lynda, and two sons, Erich & Christian, and four grandchildren. Marty's nephew, Travis Martin Hagedorn '99, is a surviving alumni.
GRD Leavey/MBA '69
James "Jim" Cronin '67, MBA '69, a San Francisco native and 34 year resident of Hillsborough, succumbed to cancer in the early morning of 3/18/16. He was a graduate of St. Stephen's Catholic School, St. Ignatius High School, and attended Santa Clara University where he received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees. He was an army veteran, first lieutenant. A devoted family man and devout Catholic, he is survived by his wife of 25 years, Nancy; three sons, Stephen (and wife Danielle), Brendan (and wife Kristin) and Michael; two grandchildren (William and Emma); two sisters, Noreen Schillaci and Sheila Marko '70 MBA '72 (and husband Tony); and numerous nephews and nieces. Jim was predeceased by sister Patricia Farber. For several decades he owned and operated Norbert Cronin & Company, an insurance brokerage firm on Market Street in San Francisco. One of only 2% of insurance professionals, nationwide, to hold both CLU and CPCU designations, he was highly respected and universally recognized as an expert in his chosen profession. Jim loved life. On the donor list of many charities, he was a lifelong philanthropist. Generous with his time and talent, he was a loyal, honorable and compassionate man. His efforts to help family, friends and neighbors were legendary. A lifelong athlete, he continued to water-ski, cycle, and play competitive basketball into his final year of life. A member of San Francisco's Olympic Club for 61 years, he was elected to that organization's basketball wall of fame. Jim planned and organized regular gatherings of his classmates and friends from St. Stephen's, St. Ignatius and Santa Clara. Noted for his love of boating and circular pastries, he was fondly referred to as "Captain Doughnut."
Arthur C. Gatto '69, Sept. 3, 1925 - Jan. 25, 2016, resident of San Jose, is survived by his sisters Alberta McDonald and Geraldine Gatto. He is the son of the late Antonio Gatto and Maria Pusatero.
Maureen Rose Murphy ’73 died peacefully, surrounded by her family on March 20, 2016. She was the devoted mother to Daniel, who taught her to follow her dreams, Marie, who taught her to listen, and Bobby, her angel, who welcomed her to heaven with her parents, Francis J. Murphy '43 and Virginia Murphy. Precious Grammy to Charlotte, Annie, John, and Clare. Cherished Mother-in-law to Kate and Jeff. Dear friend to Tony and Courtney, Todd and Ann, Lori and Sean, Tyler, Travis, T.J., Emma, and Jake. Dear sister of Geri Murphy '69, Pat Murphy MBA '73, Dennis Murphy '77, and KC Murphy '81. She leaves a hole in our hearts. Sweetheart to Joe Hurley, who always reminded her of her specialness and her motto: Have fun every day.
Mickey loved teaching, dancing, golf, bunco, keeping "the book" at every baseball game she went to, from Burlingame little league to the World Series, and hosting the Murphy Family Easter Brunch and Hunt. We will fondly remember Golden Bunny Eggs and the Mystery Bag.
She will be missed by her family and many friends from school, work, and the community. She will be sorely missed by her first friend and final caretaker, Barb.
John "Jack" Previte Jr. '70, July 20, 1948 – March 5, 2016, resident of Santa Clara, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on Saturday, March 5, 2016, surrounded by his family.
Jack was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and is survived by his loving wife, Valerie, sons John and Nicolas Previte, daughter, Elisha Spanton '98, and her husband, Matt Spanton, and granddaughter Matysen Spanton.
Jack attended Santa Clara University earning a bachelor's degree in 1970 in Econmics/Marketing. Following graduation, he served as a US Army officer during the Vietnam War.
Since 1990 he was the General Manager of CGB Investments, LLC, San Jose, California. He served on the Santa Clara University Board of Regents and was active in the SCU Bronco Bench as well as supporting many other university activities. He was an avid golfer and a member of the Almaden Golf and Country Club.
Jack loved all sports and throughout his life, he enjoyed many close friendships. He especially cherished his Sicilian (Italian) heritage and loved visiting friends and relatives in Sicily. Dedicated and hard-working, he always strived to improve on whatever endeavor he undertook.
He is preceded in death by his beloved parents, Jack Sr. and Doris Previte of San Jose, California.
Signe "Seena" Frost M.A. '76, 83, a long-time resident of Watsonville, CA, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2016, at home with her family at her side. Seena was born in Lock Haven, PA in 1932 to Florence (Bramming) and George Culbertson. The family moved to La Jolla, CA in 1942 where Seena attended The Bishop's School for Girls (class of 1949). Seena received a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College in Claremont, CA in 1953 and a Master's of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT, in 1956. Seena returned to school while raising her four children, and received a master's in psychology from Santa Clara University in 1976. Seena was licensed as a marriage and family therapist in 1977 and served as the director of the Family Services Association of Watsonville from 1977-1985 and again from 1996-2001. In 2001, Seena's first SoulCollage® book was published. Her subsequent book, SoulCollage® Evolving, was a Silver Medal winner in the 2011 Nautilus Book Awards for titles that contribute significantly to conscious living and positive social change. Seena leaves behind her four children: Jennifer Frost, Paul Frost, Meg Frost Gorny and Sarah Frost; her four grandchildren: Devin Bhattacharya, Luke Frost, Carrie Frost and Joseph Gorny; and her life-long friend, Edward Frost.
Marion Tavenner Hose '83, Aug, 30, 1963, to Feb, 3, 2016. Marion passed away on February 3 from heart failure, in Reno. She touched people far and wide - connecting people, finding ways to make peace, solving problems, bringing joy to others with her laughter and welcoming spirit.
Growing up in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Okinawa, Marion graduated from Lynbrook High in San Jose and Santa Clara University. Marion had a lengthy career in commercial real estate, first in San Jose, then Reno, where she and her husband founded and owned AMH Properties. She actively served on many volunteer boards.
Marion is survived by husband Alexander V. Hose, son Alexander, and mother Marcia Tavenner of Reno, sister Sharon Simas of Bellevue, WA, and brother Kevin Tavenner of Novato, CA.
George Ambrocio Martinez Sr. M.A. '93, May 25, 1939, to Feb. 9, 2016. A resident of Santa Clara, George graduated from Santa Clara University with his Master in Educational Administration in 1993. He was married to Rosalie G Martinez in 1959. He is survived by his four children including Stephanie Martinez '99, six grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.
Faculty & Staff
Professional machinist Stanley Tharaud, longtime contributor to the SCU campus community and a dedicated SCU staff member for decades, died on January 10, 2016. He was 88.
Stanley was a talented and extraordinarily clever machinist who worked closely with faculty and students in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was a champion of faculty and student research projects and did a masterful job keeping SCU research and teaching lab equipment in good working order. Stanley deisnged and built many of the apparatuses that have been, and continue to be used in the faculty research labs. He retired in November 2012 after almost 34 years of service to the University.
When Mary Gordon arrived at Santa Clara University in 1975 as a professor of history, the faculty at the formerly all-male, Jesuit school still had so few women you could count them on one hand.
Gordon felt that, like prayer, education required two hands devoutly clasped together -- raising the school's fortunes on high. By 1980, she had created the first women's studies program at one of California's most patriarchal institutions, transforming it to a more inclusive, world-class university in the process.
Gordon died on Christmas Eve, surrounded by her family,including her daughters, Alexandra and Eve Gordon. She was 89. She will be buried Jan. 9, following a private memorial service.
When she agreed to take on the task of building a women's program from scratch, Gordon extracted a promise from Father William Rewak, then the university's president, to make hiring faculty for the new women's studies program a priority. "That's the other thing Mary did that was unbelievably important in the history of Santa Clara University," said Barbara Molony, who later succeeded Gordon as director of the program. "That then brought in a whole cohort of women. Within a decade, we were having women faculty dinners that filled up an entire hall."
Gordon pushed against barriers to women throughout her career. She became the first tenured woman in the history department, the first woman in Arts and Sciences to receive an endowed chair, and the first woman faculty member to serve on the Board of Trustees. "The Santa Clara she left when she retired was a very different place from the school that hired her," said Steven Gelber, Gordon's colleague in the history department, "and she was an important force in bringing about that change."
Janet Napolitano '79, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, and now the president of the University of California, was one of Gordon's earliest students. "There weren't many women professors at Santa Clara in those days, and she served as an important role model for me," Napolitano said in a statement. "She challenged me to do my best work and to approach the study of history with analytic rigor and an appreciation of divergent points of view. I carry those values with me to this day."
Born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, Gordon was one of only two women in her graduating class at the University of Sydney. She spent part of World War II decoding messages in Australia's nascent intelligence service and was offered a job there after graduation. She turned it down, figuring that she would never be allowed to rise above a secretarial position.
Instead, she accepted a fellowship to Radcliffe College -- then the women's adjunct to Harvard -- and in 1952 received her Master's in history. During her first week in Cambridge, legendary Harvard historian Samuel Elliot Morison assigned a reading that could only be found at a library closed to women. When Gordon asked him how she was supposed to get the material, Morison responded, "That's your problem." She had better luck with her adviser, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the influential American historian and social critic who remained a friend for the rest of his life.
After moving to California, she plunged into the state's gaudy history, editing and publishing a diary that recounted the unusual exploits of a wagon train that preceded her own journey to the Golden State. Joan Didion later referred extensively to Gordon's book, Overland to California with the Pioneer Line, in her own 2003 historical memoir, Where I Was From.
Gordon arrived at Santa Clara during the first blush of the feminist movement, but her style was collaborative, not confrontational. "People knew that she meant business," Molony said, "but her style was bubbly." Since her retirement in 1992, the university has awarded the Mary Gordon Essay Prize for excellence in feminist scholarship.
"In a profession where too many of us are content to hunker down in the safety of our book-lined and tenure-protected offices," Gelber said, "she helped move the history department from being the next step in the cosseted world of parochial education to becoming a place where students were intellectually challenged and faculty were expected to produce as well as teach."
She spent her final years living in a cottage behind the Santa Monica home of her daughter, actress Eve Gordon. With death imminent, her family gathered by Mary Gordon's bedside and sang "Silent Night." As the carol ended, she drew her final breath and died.
Friends of the University
On Friday, April 1, the de Saisset Museum lost a dear friend. Paula Z. Kirkeby was the owner of Smith Andersen Editions and a relentless advocate for artists, all the way up to her last day. Three decades ago our relationship began when she entrusted the de Saisset Museum with the Smith Andersen Editions Archive representing some of the most important California artists of our time. She facilitated many other gifts to our institution and we are forever grateful. But more importantly, we will miss her laughs, her unique perspectives, her storytelling moments, and the precious times we spent together. We will miss her, but somehow right now it is comforting to know she left her mark on our institution.
Marty Pasetta '54, a veteran director of live TV extravaganzas, including 17 Academy Awards shows and inaugural galas for Presidents Carter and Reagan, has died. He was 82.
Pasetta died May 21, 2015, from injuries sustained in a car accident in La Quinta, where he lived. During four decades in television, Pasetta directed and produced specials for many of Hollywood's biggest names, including Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and oversaw star-studded tributes to Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock. He was credited with convincing Elvis Presley to suspend his drug use and lose weight for the 1973 special "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii," which has been described as the first satellite broadcast of a live concert.
The Elvis special was Pasetta's proudest achievement, according to his son, Marty Pasetta Jr. According to some estimates, more than 1 billion people worldwide saw the concert.
The show he was best known for, however, was the Academy Awards. He directed every Oscars telecast from 1972 to 1988 and was responsible for introducing split screens, instant replays and musical numbers involving large numbers of background dancers, lasers and pyrotechnics.
His years with the Oscars show were also memorable for unscripted drama, on and off stage. In 1973, for example, tempers flared backstage when Sacheen Littlefeather accepted Marlon Brando's best actor award for "The Godfather" with an overtly political speech decrying the depiction of Native Americans in film. John Wayne was in the wings "and was so angry he wanted to go out and pull her off stage," Pasetta recalled in an interview with United Press International in 1984.
Then there was the time that presenter Charlton Heston's car blew a tire on the freeway. As a last-minute replacement for the actor known for playing Moses in the "The Ten Commandments" Pasetta yanked Clint Eastwood from his seat in the audience.
"That was the year the writers had got very clever," Pasetta recalled in the Chicago Tribune years later. "It was all written in Biblicalese — 'thou' this, 'thou' that — and poor Clint couldn't paraphrase it.... It totally freaked him out."
Pasetta also presided over the 1974 program disrupted by a naked man who "streaked" across the stage behind Elizabeth Taylor and David Niven. "We have been accused over the years of planning that one," Pasetta told the Chicago Tribune, "but it's not true."
The prank prompted a witty comeback from Niven, who said: "The man is showing off his shortcomings."
Martin Allen Pasetta was born June 16, 1932, in San Jose. He attended Santa Clara University, but dropped out to work at San Francisco's KGO-TV, where he rose to stage manager and producer. He later moved to Los Angeles, landing his first major directing job on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in 1967. He also helped launch and direct the long-running game shows "Wheel of Fortune" and "Love Connection."
In 1971, Fr. Schmidt asked Marty to take responsibility for securing the talent and staging the show at the Golden Circle Theatre Party, one of Silicon Valley’s most spectacular and successful fundraisers. Pasetta said, "Who could say no to Father Schmidt?" For the next 15 years, he flew in from Hollywood with entertainers, musicians, and a skeleton stage crew, all of whom donated their services to the University and made for an unforgettable legacy.
In addition to his son Marty, Pasetta is survived by his wife, Elise, daughter, Debbie Palacio '84, son Gregory and five grandchildren.
Superior Court Judge John Thomas Ball J.D. '58 passed from this life Nov. 10, 2015, in Reno, Nevada, from recent health complications at the age of 82. Born in San Jose, California, John spent his early years residing in the Santa Cruz Mountains before moving to Los Gatos, where he graduated from high school. John went on to obtain his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California Berkeley before enrolling in the University of Santa Clara where he obtained his Law Degree.
After practicing law for twenty-eight years in San Jose, John was appointed as a Municipal Court Judge for the County of Santa Clara serving three years before being elevated to the Superior Court of Santa Clara where he presided mainly in criminal cases for some twenty years.
Following his retirement and a move to Plumas County in 2001, John became part of the Assigned Judges Program traveling throughout Northern California for the past fourteen years hearing mainly felony criminal cases mainly in Lassen County. For the past four years Judge Ball has sat on the bench at High Desert Correctional Center as an Assigned Judge. Throughout his career on the bench Judge Ball has presided over one hundred homicide trials of which fifteen defendants were charged with the death penalty.
John became a member of Rotary in 1971 and was an active member of the of the Portola Rotary since moving to the Sierra's. He enjoyed the outdoors through fishing and snowmobiling and will be remembered fondly by many for his quick wit and fun loving teasing. John is survived by his wife: Patsy Williams Ball of Portola, son; Stanton Ball of Santa Cruz, and grandsons; Colter and Josh. John is preceded in his passing by his daughter; Claudia. John will be greatly missed by many in his judicial life and especially by those in his personal life.